Gamecocks upstage Highlanders in Uhuru final

SPORTS WRITER

HARARE - Chicken Inn were yesterday crowned the Independence Cup champions after coming from behind to edge Bulawayo rivals Highlanders 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

This was the Gamecocks’ first ever Uhuru silverware and also their first accolade for this season.

Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas saluted his players after rallying from behind as at some stage it appeared unlikely when they trailed to an early Bruce Kangwa lovely finish but the manner of their comeback was both impressive and auspicious with Obadiah Tarumbwa and Michelle Katsvairo getting the goals for the Gamecocks.

The Gamecocks played with tempo, showed character and benefited from tactical cleverness of their coach Antipas who feels their win is also a major confidence boost in view of the long season ahead.

“It was a hard fought victory but I thought we deserved it,” Antipas said after the match.

“We struggled a bit in the early stages of the game but we gradually took control. It’s our first Cup of the season and a big confident boost going forward. The boys showed a lot of character after going a goal down.  I think credit should go to the boys for a job well done.”

Highlanders coach Erol Akbay was left a disappointed man after watching his team surrender an early first half lead despite dominating the opening moments of the game.

“We did not play our normal game. We normally play fantastic football but today (yesterday) it was different,” Akbay said.

“I am disappointed especially considering the number of chances we created in the first half before conceding those two silly goals. It’s a process however, and we will have to work on our mistakes.”

Highlanders had an upper hand early on but in the end only have themselves to blame as they missed a glut of chances. It appeared as if Highlanders would have a field day when Kangwa put them ahead after beating an offside trap.

Their lead, however, only lasted  seven minutes as Tarumbwa equalised with a header from a Katsvairo corner kick.

Highlanders keeper Ariel Sibanda should take the blame for failing to deal with the cross.

The second-half saw the Gamecocks taking the initiative and dominating the proceedings.

It was not a surprise when Katsvairo scored the winner in the 66th minute to ensure victory for the reigning league champions.

Of course, Highlanders had their chances too to level the game but in the end Chicken Inn held on to their lead.

Meanwhile, in Bulawayo at White City Stadium in the third and fourth play-off FC Platinum beat Dynamos 2-0.

Obrey Chirwa and Wellington Kamudyariwa got the goals for Norman Mapeza’s side and the result will surely put more pressure on the misfiring Harare giants.

The Glamour Boys are yet to score a goal in four matches under new coach Paulo Jorge Silva.

Teams:

Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, King Nadolo, Simon Munawa, Knox Mutizwa, Bruce Kangwa, Prince Dube, Tendai Ndlovu, Felix Chindungwe, Douglas Sibanda, Honest Moyo, Benson Phiri.

Chicken Inn: Pride Zendera, Passmore Bernard, Teenage Hadebe, Moses Jackson, Lawrence Mhlanga, Brian Juru, Pride Tafirenyika, George Majika, Michelle Katsvairo, Nicholas Muchadeyi, Obadiah TarumbwaVictorious Gamecocks

Comments (1)

Ariel Sibanda and Simon Munawa are still playing soccer? Maybe they are namesakes.

George - 19 April 2016

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